I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Political Science at University College London (UCL). I will complete my PhD research in early 2023.

My research is situated at the intersection of conflict studies and forced migration research. On the one hand, I am interested in civil wars and micro-level conflict dynamics, such as spatial contagion and territorial control. On the other hand, I research human mobility and internal displacement. I am particularly interested in questions such as how do civilians make the choice to flee, how do armed actors respond to population movements in their zones of territorial control, how can we predict forced migration, and what impact does human mobility have on conflict dynamics and post-conflict recovery. I predominantly use quantitative methods - such as spatial statistics, machine learning but also survey experiments - to explain sub-national spatial and temporal patterns of violence and population movements in civil wars. I have conducted several surveys in the context of Iraq, Myanmar and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Beyond my research agenda on internal displacement and conflict dynamics, I am interested in refugee policies, statelessness, and civilian resilience in fragile settings.

I am a member of the Conflict and Change research group and the PhD network at Migration Research Unit . I have previously worked as consultant for the World Bank-UNHCR Joint Data Center on Forced Displacement . I completed a MSc in Security Studies at UCL and a BA in Politics and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz, Germany. You can contact me at s.weber.17@ucl.ac.uk. My CV can be downloaded here .


My research falls into two broad categories. First, I want to understand local patterns of violence and conflict dynamics during civil wars. My PhD project for example investigates how the movement of fleeing civilians spreads violence against civilians in the context of the Iraqi civil war against the Islamic State. In other projects, I leverage spatial event data to explore how territorial takeovers by rebels affect micro-level dynamics of violence.

For more information:

Territorial takeover and event data : Do rebels target civilians as part of the process of establishing control in newly captured territory?

Dissertation research : How do armed actors respond to population movements during civil wars? How do population movements change violent dynamics during war?

Second, I am interested in the dynamics of displacement and forced migration. Although most of my research focuses on internally displaced persons, I am broadly interested in the causes and consequences of population relocations due to conflict and in the post-conflict period - whether this is within a country or across borders. I aim to understand how civilians make decisions to stay or flee, how host communities and displaced communities interact, and under which conditions civilians return to their places of origin.

For more information:

Forced migration decision-making : How do individuals decide to flee and how do patterns of violence affect these decisions?

IDP hosting preferences : How does past exposure to violence and displacement affect the willingness to help others by hosting displaced persons?

IDP returns and property rights : How do housing, land and property rights affect return decisions of internally displaced persons?

Publications & Working papers


Turkoglu, Oguzhan and Sigrid Weber. Forthcoming. “When to go? - A Conjoint Experiment on Social Networks, Violence and Forced Migration Decisions in Eastern and Southeastern Turkey”. International Studies Quarterly.

Hartman, Alexandra, Benjamin Morse and Sigrid Weber. 2021. “Violence, Displacement and Support for Internally Displaced People: Evidence from Syria”. Journal of Conflict Resolution 65(10): 1791-1819. Article .

Oswald, Christian, Melanie Sauter, Sigrid Weber, and Rob Williams. 2020. “Under the Roof of Rebels: Civilian Targeting After Territorial Takeover in Sierra Leone.” International Studies Quarterly 64 (2): 295–305. Article , Blog post .

Working papers

Weber, Sigrid. “Controlling a Moving World: Civilian Targeting and Territorial Control in Iraq’s Displacement Crisis”. Revise & Resubmit.

Weber, Sigrid and Alexandra Hartman. “Property Rights and Post-Conflict Recovery: Theory and Evidence from IDP Return Movements in Iraq”. Under review. Working paper .

Weber, Sigrid. “Global Forced Displacement Data: the Politics of Counting People on the Move”. Working paper .


I have experience teaching various courses on International Relations, conflict studies and quantitative methodology. As teaching assistant, I have taught several undergraduate seminars at the Department of Political Science at University College London and at the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Konstanz:

  • Causal Analysis for Q-Step (UCL)
  • International Security (UCL)
  • Introduction to International Relations and European Integration (Konstanz)
  • Introduction to Policy Analysis (Konstanz)
  • Methods of Empirical Social Science Research (Konstanz)
  • Introduction to Comparative Politics (Konstanz)

I also support the teaching of quantitative methods for master students at UCL with workshops on data manipulation in R.